Netanyahu visits Sderot after weekend of rocket fire from Gaza

"There is nothing that we would consider a cease fire that excludes the incendiary kites and incendiary balloons,"

PM Netanyahu meets with head of local authorities near the Gaza border in Sderot, July 16, 2018 (GPO)
Three months after incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza began to set fields and property on fire on the Israeli side of the Gaza border on an almost daily basis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Sderot on Monday and declared that there is no magic wand to end the attacks.
Netanyahu went to the city following a barrage of some 200 rockets on the South over the weekend, which triggered a strong Israeli response.
“The day before yesterday we took very strong action against Hamas and dealt it the strongest blow it has taken since Operation Protective Edge,” he said, adding that there is a need to “be prepared for the continuation of the struggle.”
Netanyahu described the current situation in the South as “an exchange of blows. It is not over in one go and I cannot comfort those who have taken the most difficult losses. This is very hard to take, but we know that we are in a prolonged Zionist struggle.”
Netanyahu, who met in Sderot with local council heads from the areas bordering the Gaza Strip, spoke not in terms of ending the terror in one blow, but rather as part of a century-old struggle.
“For 100 years we have been fighting terror; we fight it forcefully,” he said. “This place right now is the confrontation line between Islamic terrorism and the state of the Jews and we are determined to win. This entails an exchange of blows, which are not yet over.”
Netanyahu said he told the local municipal heads that “we are in a prolonged struggle,” and that just as Israel is stopping the threat from the terror tunnels, and took strong action and “succeeded in stopping the mass storming of the fences,” it will also find a way to stop the incendiary kites and balloons.
“We are in the midst of the process,” he said. Netanyahu said he has instructed the IDF to stop the incendiary aerial weapons.
“I said this yesterday as clearly as possible and it is worth their [Hamas’s] while to listen to me. There is no such thing from our perspective of a cease-fire that makes an exception for incendiary kites and balloons – there is no such thing. From our point of view this does not exist and therefore we are in the midst of a process. I will say this for the seventh time and it will, I hope, get through. But if it will not be understood from my words, it will be understood through the actions of the IDF.”
During his tour to the area, Netanyahu visited a kindergarten in Sderot, and said “I saw small adorable children. We are committed to them and this is a continuous process.” At the same time, he said, “I do not want to tell anybody that it is over.”
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, who a day earlier called on Netanyahu to visit the city and hear the residents’ fears and concerns, thanked Netanyahu for the visit and for listening.
“We heard from him a clear statement that the campaign is not over, and will end only after all types of terror end and the quiet that we enjoyed over the past four years returns,” he said.
“Nothing will stop the growth and development of the city, which is the important victory against Hamas,” he added. “The government decisions following Operation Protective Edge led to the flourishing and developing of the city, and we will continue together with the government on this path in the coming years as well.”